Brown vetoes pot shop bill

Reporting from Sacramento -- Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have barred medical marijuana dispensaries within 600 feet of homes, saying it stepped on the powers of cities and counties that already have authority to regulate pot shops.

The governor also signed 28 measures into law, making it easier for California firms to sell wine over the Internet and allowing bars to infuse alcohol with fruits and vegetables for use in cocktails.

Brown has until Oct. 9 to act on nearly 600 bills sent to him by the Legislature this year and has already wielded his veto pen several times, complaining about the state imposing too many standards on communities and families.

On the medical marijuana issue, the governor noted that he had previously signed a measure giving cities and counties clearer authority to regulate the location and operation of dispensaries.

“Decisions of this kind are best made in cities and counties, not the State Capitol,” Brown wrote in his veto message.


The bill was SB 847, by state Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), who said he wanted to allow cities to chose their own regulations and to protect children living near such facilities from second-hand smoke.

The governor signed a bill Wednesday allowing wine merchants without stores to obtain a special state license to sell to customers over the Internet or by telephone or direct mail. Assemblyman Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) introduced AB 623 because current law provides for an alcohol wholesaler’s license but requires holders to periodically sell to other retailers, even if they only want to sell directly to customers on the Internet.

The governor also signed a measure eliminating a state prohibition against bars and restaurants providing infused alcoholic beverages, with fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices added to spirits for flavor.

Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), author of SB 32, said the restrictions were decades old and were intended to address health concerns about the infusion process. Modern methods make the practice safe, he said.

On another measure, Brown exercised his veto pen and took a swipe at its author in the process.

With budget cuts forcing many state parks to close or reduce operations, Sen. Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) proposed that the state post details of potential park closures on a website and respond to any efforts from the private sector to help keep them open.

Brown said the idea in Harman’s bill, SB 386, was good but didn’t require a state law.

“What parks do need is sufficient funding to stay open — something I feel compelled to note the author and his colleagues refused to let the people vote on,” Brown wrote in his veto message, referring to Republican opposition to putting tax extensions on the ballot.